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It’s a Family Thing

It’s a Family Thing
April 11
15:36 2019


So how did you celebrate?

But, wait, there wasn’t a holiday recently.

Maybe not a federal “paid day off work” holiday, but one worth pausing for nonetheless.

April 10 was National Siblings Day.

Remember how older brothers often get blamed for leading their younger siblings astray? Well, that isn’t always the case. Look no further than the James boys for proof of that.

It was younger brother Jesse James who led his older brother, Frank, down the wrong path. And not only his brother, but his cousins, the Younger boys.

Then maybe crime was just in the bloodline since the Youngers were also cousins to the Daltons!

Since 1998 governors in 39states have issued annual proclamations on April 10 to recognize National Siblings Day. The idea began when Claudia Evart sought a way to honor the memory of her brother and sister, who both died at young ages.
In the U.S., 79-percent of children have siblings.

But how they can differ!

Older sister, Lillian Gish, was a role model for her sister, Dorothy, and both became major silent film stars. Lillian even encouraged her friend, Mary Pickford, to leave the stage and move to the silver screen.

Mary Pickford became one of the most popular stars Hollywood has ever known. Her brother, Jack, a heavy drinker and womanizer, and her sister, Lottie, lacked Mary’s talent. Yet being related to “America’s Sweetheart” had its advantages as both were able to find work in Hollywood.

In fact, Hollywood has a long history of families in the same business, from Charlie and Sydney Chaplin to Olivia de Haviland and Joan Fontaine and right down the line with Carradines, Bridges, Hanks and Hemworths.

The most famous of Hollywood siblings were the Barrymores – John, Lionel and Ethel.

Like the movies, Major League Baseball has had its share of siblings, too. The first professional baseball team – the Cincinnati Red Stockings – featured brothers George and Harry Wright. Other notable siblings on the diamond have included Hall of Famer Ed Delahanty and his four siblings, the three DiMaggios, the Alous, Dizzy and Paul Dean and the Molinas.

For a time the Mathewson brothers – Christy and Joe – held the sibling record for combined career wins with 374. Big brother Christy, one of the five original members of the Hall of Fame, won 373 of those.

Sibling success has been a staple of American success, including the cough drop baron Smith brothers, the Camelot Kennedys and the high-flying Wright brothers.

But having a famous sibling doesn’t always mean success for yourself.

Sometimes the right brother can be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

When a Texas posse was unable to catch gunfighter John Wesley Hardin, they decided his brother, Joe, was the next best thing, so they hung him!

During the 1930s the four Barker boys were Tommy-gun toting bank robbers. But did one brother lead his siblings astray? Naw, it was their parent, the notorious Ma Barker!

Junius Booth was a stage star in the mid-1860s and he had high hopes for his sons, also actors. The oldest, Edwin, surpassed his father’s fame and was considered the greatest Shakspearean actor of his time.

But it was the younger son that secured the family’s place in history. It happened on April 14, 1865 – and his name was John Wilkes Booth.






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